Visual Arts
4:30 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

KU Board of Regents Approves Spencer Museum Expansion Plans

The Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.
Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

The Kansas Board of Regents this week approved the renovation and expansion plans for the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas.

The building where the museum is housed opened to the public in 1978, and according to a news release, the collection has grown by more than 250 percent. This includes the nearly 10,000 objects transferred to the Spencer's holdings in 2007, with the closing of the KU Museum of Anthropology, and other acquisitions.

The first phase of the project includes a new central staircase and elevator, as well as new study centers on two floors. New wood floors and lighting will also be added to the galleries. Heavily used spaces, such as the auditorium and reception room, will get technological and aesthetic upgrades.

Skylights will be installed in the, now-windowless, central gallery called the Central Court. According to a release, "the Central Court will be recast as an expansive and light-filled public space. An in-gallery staircase and elevator corridor will create...a unified gallery experience for visitors." 

Museum officials say the expansion and renovation will be privately funded. To date, $3.4 million has been raised or promised. The university asked the KU Endowment Center to contract for the improvements to the facility.